I like to consider myself a goal-oriented person. But sometimes I have a hard time reaching those goals. I think it’s because I find myself overvaluing the opinions of others. It’s a natural human inclination. Especially when you’ve seen other people have success doing what they are suggesting you do. Last summer, I had the opportunity to serve as a speaker at a couple of big Christian conferences. I was excited about the opportunities and am grateful for the chance to minister to others. But it wouldn’t have happened if I had listened to other people.
I’ve always wanted to be able to share and proclaim the gospel. Others thought I was better suited to be a Christian attorney—exercising my faith in courtrooms and boardrooms. Not that there isn’t a place for that, but it wasn’t my place. I believe that there are three things I set out to do that helped to filter thoughts of inadequacy to give me opportunities to proclaim Christ. And I want to share those three things with you all today.
1. Be careful letting others tell you how to accomplish your goals.
In 1 Samuel 17, David was preparing to fight of one the largest adversaries in the history of Israel. Saul, the king at the time, had a bright idea. He wanted David to use his armor to fight the giant. David found this to be very uncomfortable. I can’t go fight Goliath in this stuff. I’m not used to them. In fact, David took a step or two before he realized Saul’s armor just wasn’t going to work.
Ever had somebody else to tell you how you should approach a problem that was totally unfamiliar to you? This is what I would do if I were you. I know you know somebody like that. David said, “I can’t go in these, I’m not used to them.” In fact, he took a step or two before he realized it wasn’t his cup of tea.
King Saul had nothing to offer David in this battle. David realized that he was operating outside of his comfort zone. He began to strip off the stuff that Saul—a prestigious king—believed would help him win the battle. Just because someone has a position, doesn’t mean that person has your provision.
Sometimes we can’t let others layer us down with their opinions about how you should approach something. Most of them speak to us out of the limitations of their own experiences. The only thing Saul knew when it came to battle was armor. That’s the way he approached a problem. Ladies, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT allow one of your girlfriends to give you advice about relationships who has been in and out of 30 relationships and now believes that all men are dogs. All they know…is armor! If you do seek opinions on the matter, make sure you find someone who is competent, wise, and able to give you godly advice.
As a shepherd, the thing that David knew about was his slingshot. He used it to fight off animals in the fields while protecting his flock. This task seemed to be only useful for shepherding his flock, but David would eventually use that skill to slay a giant. Don’t ever think that the skills that you have acquired along the way are worthless. I’ve been through three years of law school, passed two bar exams, and I’m not currently actively practicing law. But I have seen how God has used that experience to help me in my present ministry. Do you have skills or experience that seem to be useless right now? Be encouraged. God will use all your skills and experience for his glory.
2. Relish the opportunities God gives you to prepare.
David never realized that slaying a lion and bear prepared him to slay a giant that struck fear in the Israelites. God may be preparing you right now with small tasks.
There’s something to be said about faithfulness while doing something mundane.
Jesus’ words are informative here. The person who is faithful over a few things will be ruler over many (Matthew 25:21). What few things is God entrusting you with right now?
David went into the battle with Goliath with great confidence because he had already been in training for this encounter. God was preparing him all along. And he’s trying to do the same with you.
3. Use what’s in your hand.
David’s approach reminds me of God’s words to Moses in Exodus 4. In that passage, Moses was getting ready to go before the people of Israel to tell them that he was called to deliver them from Pharaoh. But like us, he had questions. How can I do this? What if they don’t believe me? God answered him in an interesting way. “What is that in your hand?” God used whatever Moses was working with.
What is in your hand? What gift, talent, or ability has God placed in your care? He expects you to use that to challenge your Pharaohs and ultimately lead to other people’s deliverance.
When setting goals, make sure you eliminate the Sauls in your life. Seek godly advice and counsel if you need input. Use what God has placed in your hands. Most important, though, place your life in God’s hands and watch him work through you. And you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals. Goals are great, but your spiritual growth in the process is more important. Keep the three thoughts I mentioned above in mind when working toward your goals and you’ll see real, tangible change.